MEC Lesufi updates on first day of schools reopening

MEC Lesufi updates on first day of schools reopening

This serves to confirm that Gauteng recorded a 85 percent attendance of of learners and educators for the first day of reopening of schools.

Emergency repairs were commissioned and have in the main been addressed, or contractors are currently on site. By Sunday this number had been reduced to 11.

11 schools where deemed not to be ready to open today.
• Reports from districts show that 2 of these schools were opened successfully.
• The remaining schools did not open mainly due to infrastructure issues which are currently being addressed.

Some principals closed schools unilaterally due to misunderstanding on the availability of scanners or screeners.

Any issues at our schools which in any way would impact on the safety of our staff and learners are being managed. We are using alternative measures including temporary relocation of learners to neighbouring schools where we cannot immediately resolve the challenges.

As expected, we certainly experienced some teething problems today:

We had several incidents of break-ins and vandalism over the weekend including up to last night. This has impacted on the PPEs, Including scanners for screening, and other resources we had allocated to schools accordingly.

PPEs

All schools received PPEs – some schools claimed that there shortages. This was escalated to the department for intervention.
• A number of schools reported there have also been short deliveries in some schools that was not escalated by Friday for intervention – some of these was addressed by districts over the weekend. Shortages include masks and cleaning detergents.
o In the interim, schools were also provided with surgical masks if they did not have enough cloth masks.
o Some learners received one mask for now while stock is being delivered.
o HO is intervening to address all shortages.
• Theft of PPEs reported – in one instance in Orange Farms the police intervened and manged to recover some of the PPEs in one but the rest was taken by the thieves in a second car.

Scholar transport

• All Grade 7 and 12 learners who required scholar transport which is provided by the GDE through 212 contracted bus companies and owners were transported to schools.
• Some issues experienced
• Some transport company owners reported to us as late as last night that their vehicles had not been sanitized, so they would not be available today.
• Two districts reported parents stopped learners from getting on busses to two schools
• Some buses did not have Bus Conductors
• No all busses were sanitised
• No bus drivers turned up on Saturday in one district for training
• Most grade 12 learners arrived at schools using ofpublic transport
• Services will be restored tomorrow – Department is intervening overnight
• 136 disinfection centres across the province will be used to clean the buses. The department will provide the disinfectants and the bus owners will clean

Nutrition

Schools were required to procure fresh and dry good for the first 14 days for school nutrition meals
• There are no major reports of any schools that experienced problems on Day 1. Where there was an issue this was resolved by the districts and feeding did proceed.
o May need to intervene in 2 schools with no feeding schemes – fee charging
o 1 school closed by district at 12pm as the SGB did not procure food – this has been addressed and the schools will open tomorrow

Screening
• Deployment of COVID-19 Brigades
o Though we had successfully recruited COVID brigades, many of them are in the process of being deployed to schools. Its important to clarify that the brigades are an additional resource to the school but that other personnel have been assigned to deal with screening and other issues.
o One principal closed the schools arguing that there were no brigades to scan learner temperatures. However a brigade had been deployed, the principal failed phoned the deployee to confirm his/her availability. The principal had no authority to close the school.
• In some schools there were some scanners that were not working correctly. We have also ascertained that some scanner were not used properly. These will be replaced.

High Level Assessment on Attendance

• Learner attendance –
o Attendance is estimated at over 85%
o Two schools rotating learner by gender in grade 12 on alternate days – we are intervening to determine why?
• Educator attendance – Most districts reported no problems being experience across
o Attendance is estimated at over 85%
o On comorbidities, we have noticed some absence of educators last week and today, due to having underlying conditions. We appeal to all to pls comply with the guidelines in this regard, and to contact the school principal and district for clarity on whether your application is approved. But don’t just stay away.
▪ A number of teachers who have not attended claim to have comorbidities but they have not applied to work from home.
▪ A number of teachers submitted medical reports without application or filling in a sick leave forms

Infrastructure Issues

Over 250 contracts for emergency and minor repairs have been awarded and will be- and are on site to deal with water, electricity and sanitation challenges
• Water issues – these are mainly municipal and rand water linked to water pressure – so while the schools has running water the supply is erratic.
• Vandalism on Sunday night affected some schools this morning
• Electricity damage due to vandalism

Community issues
• 3 schools in Orange Farms were prevented from opening due to service delivery protests by the community
• An educator was chased out of the Alra Park Secondary School by parents in Tsakane Ext 8. The community was protesting around the fence project demanding employment and sub-contracting. The department intervened and tomorrow the contractor will continue.

COVID cases

A number of cases of covid-19 positive teachers were reported by the Department of Health. In the main these cases arose prior to schools reopening for teachers. Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, we have arranged for urgent decontamination of all such schools. We have informed the school community on what further measures we will take with respect to their particular schools.

Currently we have recorded 39 Covid 19 Positive, from 38 schools and 38 cases under investigation.

Finally, We can also confirm that the the family of Enock Mpianzi through their Attorney claimed for about Ten Million Rand for compensation, and our legal team will engage them accordingly.

For more information contact the Gauteng Department of Education’s Spokesperson, Steve Mabona on 072 574 3860.

Issued by the Gauteng Department of Education

For media releases, speeches and news visit the Gauteng
Provincial Government’s portal at www.gauteng.gov.za

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